Category Archives: Faculty Spotlight

Guy Numa

Professor Guy Numa on racism and exclusion 

Colorado State University and the College of Liberal Arts is committed to tackling the wicked problem of racism and exclusion. In this SOURCE story our own Dr. Guy Numa is one of three CLA professors highlighted. Numa stresses the importance of moving from discussion to action. He is a proponent for the creation of “baby bonds,” trust accounts that would be given to all newborns at birth, with larger amounts given to those in low-income families, to elevate the economic status of minority families.

Stephan Weiler

Winter 2019/Spring 2020 CLA Magazine featuring Professor Stephan Weiler now available

The Winter 2019/Spring 2020 edition of the CLA Magazine is now available for your viewing pleasure! The Liberal Arts Magazine showcases stories from faculty, students, and alumni on universal topics. In this issue, we apply the lenses of the liberal arts to place and space. Our department’s article highlights the work of Professor Stephan Weiler and REDI.

Identifying rural solutions to urban needs, and vice versa, has been a big part of Professor Weiler’s work for decades. With the Regional Economic Development Institute, Weiler and others are examining the many ways to bridge the urban-rural divide. Whether it’s malting barley, charter school supply and demand, or poverty and incarceration, rural and urban communities can learn from and benefit one another and provide opportunities for more people to succeed.

Professor Elissa Braunstein

Dr. Elissa Braunstein named Chair of the Economics Department

Please congratulate Professor Elissa Braunstein on being appointed the Chair of the Department of Economics, effective November 1, 2018. This is a 5-year appointment.

Dr. Braunstein is a Professor of Economics at Colorado State University, as well an Editor for the journal Feminist Economics. Most recently she worked for 2.5 years as a Senior Economist at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies. Her work focuses on the international and macroeconomic aspects of growth and development, with particular emphasis on the interactions between macroeconomic policy and gender equality, as well as the consequences of incorporating care and social reproduction into macroeconomic models. She publishes widely in both academic and policy venues, and has done consulting work for a number of international development institutions, including UN Women, the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, and the United Nations Research Institute on Social Development. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Master’s of Pacific International Affairs from the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego.

We are honored to have Dr. Braunstein take on this new role!

REDI logo

Getting REDI: New institute focuses on economics of rural and urban areas

“Rural areas are surprisingly entrepreneurial.”

That is one of the findings from Colorado State University Professor Stephan Weiler and his fellow researchers who recently studied startups and business creation in both rural and urban areas. The findings also showed that the businesses created in these rural areas tend to be more resilient than urban startups and have higher survival rates (1990-2007).

Linking rural areas’ lower costs, entrepreneurial culture and amenities to the dynamic nature of high-growth urban clusters such as those along Colorado’s Front Range can benefit both cities and smaller towns, the study found.

These findings, and many more, about the relationship between and differences among rural and urban areas are the foundation of the newly created Regional Economic Development Institute, or REDI.


Dr. Cher Li

Dr. Cher Li wins CSU Faculty Development Award

Please help us congratulate Dr. Cher Li’s Faculty Development award on Tuesday, April 11 from 3 to 5 pm in the Long’s Peak Room in Lory Student Center (Spring Faculty/Staff Meeting & Awards Ceremony). She is receiving this award from the College of Liberal Arts for her research project on the Under-representation of Women in Economics Majors.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Li as she accepts this important award!
Look forward to seeing you there!!

The Divide Between Rural and Urban America, in 6 Charts

By Brian Thiede, Lillie Greiman, Stephan Weiler, Steven C. Beda and Tessa Conroy

Editor’s note: We’ve all heard of the great divide between life in rural and urban America. But what are the factors that contribute to these differences? We asked sociologists, economists, geographers and historians to describe the divide from different angles. The data paint a richer and sometimes surprising picture of the U.S. today. The Conversation

Congratulations Elisa Belfiori! Distinguished CESifo Affiliate

During the CESifo Annual Area Conferences, the Committee for the CESifo Prize grants the Distinguished CESifo Affiliate award to a young economist for the scientific originality, policy relevance and quality of exposition of his/her paper presented at the conference.

Elisa Belfiori is this year’s recipient. Please join the Department in congratulating Elisa on her hard work and great accomplishment!



Dr. Anita Pena, New Graduate Studies Coordinator

aNITA 2Dr. Anita Alves Pena takes over as Interim Coordinator of Graduate Studies in the Department of Economics.

As of Fall 2016, I am the Department’s new Interim Coordinator of Graduate Studies. This is my 10th year at CSU.  I came to CSU in Fall 2007 from Stanford University where I received my MA in Economics in 2004 and PhD in Economics in 2007.  I was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor in July 2013.

I have taught graduate courses in Microeconomic Theory, Public Economics, and Microeconomics of Development and undergraduate courses in Intermediate Microeconomics, Introduction to Econometrics (both traditional classroom and online), and Economics of Public Finance. I also have worked with several students via Supervised College Teaching, Independent Study, and general advising at both graduate and undergraduate levels.  In our department, I have been a member and subsequently the chair of our microeconomic theory review committee that administers the microeconomics portion of our Qualifying Exam to PhD students.  I also have been a Faculty Member of the Graduate Center for Diversity and Access (GCDA) (formerly Colorado Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP)) for the Graduate School here at CSU since 2014.

My research spans several areas of applied microeconomics and the analysis of large micro-level datasets. I am particularly interested in public sector economics, labor economics, and economic development and have written in the areas of economics of immigration, economics of race and ethnicity, and economics of inequality and poverty.  Over the years, I have had a specific focus on issues pertaining to domestic and international U.S. agricultural labor and have benefited from the perspective of being at a land-grant institution.  Two papers with coauthors published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics in 2015 and 2016 respectively have been widely cited in mass media recently, and it has been exciting to generate such discussion about labor dynamics in this sector and relationships to public policy.  I am currently working on a small project about how agricultural worker health and risk factors translate into wages and productivity, which is funded by the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (HICAHS).  Some of my previous work on agricultural labor has been funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and by the West Coast Poverty Center at the University of Washington.  Recent research (unrelated to agricultural labor) on inequality, skill, and education more broadly was funded by the American Institutes for Research.

I have presented work in numerous research conferences, academic seminars, and local outlets over the years. Most recently, I presented at the Western Economic Association International Annual Conference in Portland in June and the Greeley Chamber of Commerce in May.

In addition to starting as the Coordinator of Graduate Studies this year, I am also CSU’s first representative to the Rocky Mountain Federal Statistical Research Data Center Consortium which is a new collaboration of several institutions in this region for access to proprietary federal data for academic research.

I am eager to work more closely with graduate students in my new role and to support our active MA and PhD programs. Our graduate programs and students are multifaceted and diverse, and I look forward to interacting more closely with current and future students in the Department.

Faculty Spotlight- Dr. Stephan Weiler

Economics at Colorado State University

Dr. Stephan Weiler is a Professor of Economics and Research Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University. He received his BA (Honors) in Economics and MA in Development Economics from Stanford University in 1988, and his Economics PhD from UC-Berkeley in 1994 where he studied with eventual 2001 Nobel Laureate George Akerlof.  From 2004 through 2006, Stephan was appointed as Assistant Vice President and Economist at the Federal Reserve’s Center for the Study of Rural America to lead the Center’s applied research work. The Center was the focal point in the Federal Reserve System for rural and regional development issues, providing cutting-edge research perspectives to private, public, and nonprofit decision makers.  Stephan became a frequent speaker before industry, university, and public policy audiences throughout the nation, is a regular contributor to media outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to National Public Radio, and has published nearly one hundred articles, book chapters, and policy papers.  His research has spanned a variety of development and labor market issues in Africa, Appalachia, Europe, and the American West. His current work focuses on regional economic growth and development, particularly in rural and inner-city areas, combining theoretical, empirical, and policy analyses on topics such as information, innovation, industrial restructuring, land use, public/private partnerships, immigration, entrepreneurship, and the environment. These various elements inform his role as founding research director for the Colorado Innovation Report, begun in 2012 with a broad-based coalition of leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to understand and enhance the state’s innovative capacities.  In 2014, Dr. Weiler received the prestigious Stern Award for superior performance in teaching, research and professional service by a senior member of the faculty.  His popular senior seminar on regional economics gives students an opportunity to interact with political and economic leaders from around the state.

Selected Publications:

Zahran, Sammy, Lori Peek, Jeffrey Snodgrass, Stephan Weiler, and Lynn Hempel (2013) “Abnormal Labor Outcomes as a Function of Maternal Exposure to a Catastrophic Hurricane Event during Pregnancy.” Natural Hazards, 66, 61-76.

Low, Sarah and Stephan Weiler (2013) “Measurement and Story-telling in Regional Science: An Intergenerational Perspective on Lessons Learned from Andrew Isserman.” International Regional Science Review, 36(1), 69-80.

Zahran, Sammy, Daniele Tavani, and Stephan Weiler (2013) “Daily Variation in Natural Disaster Casualties: Information Flows, Safety, and Opportunity Costs in Tornado versus Hurricane Strikes.” Risk Analysis, 33(7), 1265-1280.

Schaeffer, Peter, Stephan Weiler, and Scott Loveridge (2014) “Urban and Rural: Opposites No More!” Economic Development Quarterly, 28(1), 3-4.


Faculty Spotlight- Dr. Anita Alves Pena


Professor Pena is an associate professor of economics with research interests in public sector economics, labor economics, and economic development. Much of her current research relates to undocumented and documented immigration, public policy, poverty, and agricultural labor markets. Dr. Pena received her Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University in 2007, M.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 2004, and B.A. in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University in 2001. She teaches Microeconomic Theory, Public Economics, and Microeconomics of Development at the graduate level, as well as undergraduate Intermediate Microeconomics, Introduction to Econometrics, and Economics of Public Finance. She describes her teaching philosophy as follows:

“My teaching philosophy has revolved around the idea that the art in teaching economics lies in the ability to relate the subject to the experiences of students. Teaching students why economics matters to their lives changes their understanding of the world around them. My view is that this not only ensures a next generation of economists to extend the field, but also can result in positive externalities such as changes in students’ compassion for the poor, ethics in business, and personal responsibility for household finances. The best economics classes in my opinion elucidate supply and demand relationships and engage students mathematically, analytically, intuitively, and verbally while encouraging informed citizenship and decision-making. This is relevant at the undergraduate and graduate (through PhD) levels.”

Selected Publications:

“Determinants of Child Labor in the Modern United States: Evidence from Agricultural Workers and their Children” (with Maoyong Fan and Mimi Houston), Economics Bulletin, Volume 34, Issue 1 (2014): 287-306.

“Undocumented Immigrants and the Welfare State: The Case of Regional Migration and U.S. Agricultural Labor,” Journal of Regional Science, Volume 54, Issue 1 (January 2014): 96-113.

“Hispanics and the Great Recession: Differences in Unemployment Rate Duration by Ethnicity and Race 2003-2010” (with Harvey Cutler and Martin Shields), In: Hispanics in the U.S. Labor Market (editor: Richard R. Verdugo), Information Age Press, 2014.

“Poverty Measurement for a Binational Population,” Migration Letters, Volume 10, Issue 2 (May 2013): 254-269.
“Remittances and Undocumented Migration,” In: The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration (editor: Immanuel Ness), Wiley-Blackwell, February 2013.

“Undocumented Immigration and the Business of Farm Labor Contracting in the U.S.,” American Journal of Business, Volume 27, Issue 1 (2012): 10-26.

“Economies of Scale and Gender Discrimination in Transition: The Case of the Republic of Tajikistan,” Applied Economics, Volume 44, Issue 18 (June 2012): 2265-2281.